1973 and Me by Colin Babb

The England v West Indies Test Series and a Memorable Childhood Year

“… a vital account of the spirit, dynamism and cultural transformation of cricket brought about by West Indian cricketers.” COLIN GRANT, historian, author and broadcaster

From 1968 to 1973, the West Indies did not win a Test series. They lost 2-0 on their previous England tour in 1969. By 1973, and despite this lack of success, West Indian cricket still played a central role as a medium of Caribbean self-expression in Britain. In the summer of 1973, could the West Indies deliver the performances and results to inspire the Caribbean diaspora in Britain?


BOOK COVER IMAGE: Spectators on the
field at the end of the first 1973 England v
West Indies Test at The Oval, 31 July 1973

“… articulates, with a vivid authority, the journey made from West Indian boyhood to British manhood. And the guiding light on this twisting and sometimes uncertain road is cricket.”
SIMON LISTER, journalist and author of Fire in Babylon: How the West Indies Cricket Team Brought a People to its Feet


1973 and Me reveals why this was a landmark year for many of the contributors, exploring the story, legacy, first-hand testimonies and Colin’s personal memoir of this iconic year. It reflects on patterns of Colin’s family and Caribbean migration to Britain, wider perspectives on history, identity, music and politics, shared family experiences of television in the 1970s, a collection of memorable events, and interplay with the 1973 West Indies tour.

1973 and Me features Lance Gibbs, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd, Alvin Kallicharan, Frank Hayes, Dennis Amiss, Keith Fletcher, Sacha Distel, Johnny Kwango, Red Rum, Clyde Best, The Common Market, Ted Heath, Harold Wilson, CARICOM, Guyana, ‘Love Thy Neighbour’, curry and roti, toad-in-the-hole, Leeds United, The Oval and South London life in the 1970s.


COLIN BABB describes himself as a ‘BBC’, a British-Born Caribbean. His family is from around the Caribbean, including  Guyana, Guadeloupe and Barbados. Colin worked for the BBC
as a radio producer, website producer, broadcast journalist; and as a photographer in the Caribbean for education book publishers.

He has been a guest on television in Guyana, and radio in Barbados and Grenada. He has made three appearances as a guest with the BBC Test Match Special radio cricket commentary
team. In 2012, Colin wrote They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun: West Indies Cricket and its Relationship with the British-Resident Caribbean Diaspora (Hansib); revised and updated in 2015.